Last Friday Reker Ahmed, a 17 year old Kurdish Iranian student, was waiting at a bus stop in Croydon south London. What happened to him next has been given much media attention.
He was subjected to an unprovoked attack by up to thirty people. As a result Reker has suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured spine and a blood clot on the brain. He was unable to recognise his brother when he visited him in London's Kings College Hospital. Iraqi Kurds have condemned the attack. We can join with them in expressing our sympathy.
Rather than being seen as an isolated event this attack can be seen as a part of a sustained increase in hate crime. As a result of the attack a number of people aged between 15 and 22 have been charged. Police are still investigating, there is an increased police presence on the streets surrounding the area. In response to the attacks anti racist graffiti has appeared in the area.
I wonder if anti racist graffiti is enough? The fact that this attack was launched from a pub named The Goat reminds me of the passage in Matthew where the nations are separated as shepherds separate sheep and goats.
Giving money is a start, as over two and a half thousand people have done on a just giving page for Reker Ahmed, but the passage in Matthew goes beyond that to get involved practically. Even if we don't know any asylum seekers personally we can champion their cause, speak on their behalf. And if we do count asylum speakers as friends we can share Jesus with them in practical ways. I'll leave you with a strong challenge that might apply to welcoming asylum seekers too.